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- In an editorial titled “The President Is Not Above The Law,” The New York Times called on Republicans to stand up to President Donald Trump on Sunday.
- The newspaper’s editorial board said that it is up to Congress to affirm the rule of law.
The New York Times used a full page to print an editorial on Sunday to call on Republicans to stand up to President Donald Trump.
In an editorial titled “The President Is Not Above The Law,” the newspaper’s editorial board said that it is up to the Republican-controlled Congress to affirm the rule of law.
The Times editorial comes at a time when there are growing concerns that Trump could look to undermine or completely shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Trump has recently ramped up his public and private attacks on Mueller’s probe.
Many Republicans and Democrats have urged the president not to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel’s investigation on behalf of the Justice Department. Lawmakers have told Trump to allow the investigation to run its course and not to impede, as it could lead to a constitutional crisis and a potential impeachment.
Some lawmakers have proposed legislation to protect Mueller and the investigation from being disbanded, but GOP leadership does not seem to believe that is a necessary step.
“Make no mistake: If Mr. Trump takes such drastic action, he will be striking at the foundation of the American government, attempting to set a precedent that a president, alone among American citizens, is above the law”, The Times editorial board said.
The editorial board noted Trump’s history of sharp criticism of individuals followed by lack of action on firing them. However, The Times reported that Trump has wanted to fire Mueller twice before being dissuaded by his legal team and advisers to take such an action.
While the American public is overwhelmingly supportive of Mueller keeping his job and could be upset if action is taken against the special counsel’s investigation, the editorial board fears that the public could see this as just another food fight in Washington, DC and let it go.
The Times applauded the warnings that some Republicans are sending to Trump if he interferes with the investigation, but went to say that there needs to be more action so that Trump does not set a new precedent.
“But should Mr. Trump move to hobble or kill the investigation, he would darken rather than dispel the cloud of suspicion around him,” the editorial board said. “Far worse, he would free future presidents to politicize American justice. That would be a danger to every American, of whatever political leaning.”
The editorial concluded by saying that Trump is a citizen, not a king, and that it is up to the GOP to protect the rule of law.
“The president is not a king but a citizen, deserving of the presumption of innocence and other protections, yet also vulnerable to lawful scrutiny,” the editorial board wrote. “We hope Mr. Trump recognizes this. If he doesn’t, how Republican lawmakers respond will shape the future not only of this presidency and of one of the country’s great political parties, but of the American experiment itself.”